Insurtech to drive sector growth in UAE
Emergence and adoption of Insurtech in the UAE has extended its benefits to the insurers and consumers making it a profitable proposition to all the stake holders in the sector.
The major disruption has happened in life, health, property and casualty insurance space which includes automobile or car insurance, home and travel insurance.
"Insurtech are those technologies which impact or disrupt the insurance business. It will be fair to state that historically insurance business and information technology have worked in separate silos. Globally a slew of insurtech startups has brought about a revolution across the value chain be it products and pricing, sales and distribution and claims," Sridhar Subbaraman, founder and owner, Oasis Insurance Group, said.
The rise of insurtech companies is focused mainly on providing higher customer experience and build connected customer ecosystem so that every service is personalised to each insured person. The more the services are customer centric, buying experience of insurance will be very synonymous to an e-commerce transaction. Thus, it requires in depth analysis of customer preferences, behaviours and lifestyle needs.
Globally trends towards increased product and process simplification, automated support and virtual intelligent assistants have begun to accelerate the move to nontraditional distribution channels. Smart contracts developed on blockchain have started to streamline the payment of claims and the administration of insurance, perhaps opening the door to new entrants.
Penetration by way of blockchain have been adopted and connected with the ecosystem providing for real time settlement of claims, hastening interactions between the supply chain and insurers and reducing fraud.
"The real insurtech penetration has commenced only from the beginning of 2019 through www.insureatoasis.com with regard to sales and distribution and as recently as last week, five insurance companies have agreed to secure their recoveries through a blockchain launched by another start up Addenda," said Subbaraman.
Watania Takaful, Noor Takaful, Al Wathba insurance, Aman insurance, and Oriental insurance signed up with Addenda - a B2B startup maintaining a network of insurers on blockchain - which streamlines processes between insurance companies and has tailored tasks reported in real-time on a user-friendly interface and then time stamped as evidence onto the blockchain.
"Insurtech is a subset of fintech, which specifically aims to focus on niches within the insurance industry that incumbent insurers don't have the resources or interest in exploiting. Such blind spots include offering peer to peer insurance, parametric policies, and IoT enabled premium pricing based on consumer behaviour," said Walid Daniel Dib, CEO, Addenda Technologies.
The industry in 2020 will see insurers compete with improving their customer service through digitised claim handling through chat bots and apps, as opposed to the currently manual process of corresponding via phone/email.
How will disruption of insurtech help common consumer in the UAE? By digitising claim handling procedures and other internal processes, insurers can cut significant overheads.
Insurers are no longer competing just for the cheapest policy: By having an app to claim through, the customer journey itself is improved when filing an insurance claim, whether for your vehicle, health or home. This means that the customer may actually settle a claim and receive cash in bank at a fraction of the time it takes today.
Dr Ann Jacob, chief operating officer and board member, IRIS Health Services, said: "Businesses should look at technology as an enabler, as one of the key factors that drives growth."
Dr Jacob claims her platform Ezyclaim is a game changer in health insurance claims circles. The platform gives clients the ability to monitor usage in real time, detect trends, monitor for fraud, review performance and manage their portfolios with unparalleled efficiency and transparency.
"Our solution offers customised, intelligent and intuitive dashboards that helps physicians assign appropriate ICD or other coding at their fingertips without the need for specialist coders or extensive coding knowledge," added Dr Jacob.
IRIS Health Services has helped save more than $10 million in healthcare fraud in the UAE, Oman and other Middle East markets by integrating emerging technologies like AI, blockchain and Deep Machine Learning into their operations, claims Dr Jacob.
"Speaking of disruption, it can only happen when insurtech can increase efficiencies without increasing manpower. IRIS has implemented blockchain based EHRs, we've put in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and we've got a claims scrubber, which help control insurance costs and protect from fraud, waste and abuse," added Jacob.
Every cost adds up to the premium. If a company can be more efficient by not increasing manpower costs, at least on that front the insurtech solution will help the premium not go up.
Similarly, if there is over utilisation, if there is fraud, if there are increased overheads, all this increases the premium. So, if the insurtech solution can bring all of this under control than it will help the end consumer who doesn't end up paying more for the product that he or she is buying.
Sridhar Subbaraman, founder and owner, Oasis Insurance Group.
Walid Daniel Dib, CEO, Addenda Technologies.
Dr Ann Jacob, chief operating officer and board member, IRIS Health Services.